There are plenty of towns like mine trying to figure out where they can cut costs. But every conversation seems to end at cutting education or safety services. While I find it hard to believe that there is nothing else in a budget you can trim, I think I have come up with a reasonable compromise (if not just for the sake of our own rhetorical amusement) that can cut at least a little bit of money from the budget without affecting staffing or resources.
Any teacher, support staff, officer, firefighter or public employee who currently pays union dues will have the total amount of dues paid calculated and that amount removed from their respective department budgets (aka:paychecks). This will do the one thing no one ever seems willing to do; include the unions in the burden of cost cutting.
The Unions are always in a "partnership" with the town and the residents when it comes to increasing labor and administrative costs but seem to avoid bearing any of that burden when the economy reduces the values of residents homes, eliminates taxpayer jobs, or cuts their wages. These things make it harder for them to meet current or rising town budgets bloated by unions and things like Evergreen laws, which give Labor groups no incentive to bargain at all.
In fact, the only way to get at the union at all is to fire people. But we don’t want to fire people, that would hurt services or put the children’s future at risk. Isn’t that right? So instead we should just cut everyone’s pay, knowing that the hard working, dedicated and caring public Union employees can and will take one for the team because this is not about the capitalsit pursuit of wealth before all things, it is about the quality services they provide to the community.
It’s about the children.
And consider the value. Public employees pay taxes (with our taxes) so they too share in the burden but with this altruistic leap that value goes further. When someone on the public payroll takes a pay cut it reduces that employees tax burden while reducing their taxes, the town budget, and frees up much needed capital that goes back into the community or can be allocated for other important projects or purchases. It’s a win-win for everyone.
And rather than force the taxpayers and their elected officials to bargain with the bargaining group about budgets and wages and benefits, oh my! let the employees bargain with their unions over the burden of paying union dues to the unions, who are really just a big, greedy, selfish business getting rich on the backs of their members.
Yes, their are legislative hurdles but let me dream. Because it is time to engage the relationship where taxpayers fund unions through their town employees only to have the union mug them in a dark alley to get even more money. So pay-cut time. If they don’t like it they can quit. In this economy, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people across the country to replace them. Qualified people who will do their job for less than we are paying now. They’d be happy just to have a job.